Asian American groups urge the University of Pennsylvania to fire racist law professor


Quadrangle Building at the University of Pennsylvania | Photo via Creative Commons PD

WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, one of the nation’s oldest Asian American civil rights organizations, and its Philadelphia and Pittsburgh chapters on Wednesday urged the University of Pennsylvania to fire disgraced white supremacist law professor Amy Wax for racist comments advocating for “fewer Asians” and “less Asian immigration” to the U.S. Wax faced widespread condemnation for her remarks.

In a letter, OCA called for the university to take “appropriate steps” to “ensure her immediate removal.” While Penn has cited Wax’s tenured status in the past as a reason for her continued employment, the nonprofit argued that “to allow her to hide behind [tenure] without any repercussions is simply unacceptable.” The full letter, delivered to Penn President Amy Gutmann and Carey Law School Dean Theodore, is available here.

“Penn Law has already acknowledged that Amy Wax’s xenophobic, racist views harm its Asian American students, faculty, and staff. Yet the school has offered little transparency around how students are being protected,” said Linda Ng, National President of OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates. “It is stunning that in 2022, an openly white supremacist professor continues to teach at a prestigious American university, with the school claiming it is powerless to stop her.”

Amy Wax | University of Pennsylvania

According to OCA, Wax has a history of making increasingly bigoted remarks thinly disguised as academic speech. She wrote in a 2017 op-ed that “all cultures are not equal.” She argued without evidence in 2018 that Black law students “rarely” graduated at the top of their classes. She stated at a 2019 conference that the U.S. would be “better off with more whites and fewer nonwhites.”

OCA said that in a December 2021 podcast, Wax stated: “As long as most Asians support Democrats and help to advance their positions, I think the United States is better off with fewer Asians and less Asian immigration.” Wax also baselessly claimed that people of South Asian descent “just love to bash America” and that Asian Americans possess a “lack of thoughtful and audacious individualism.”

While Wax Penn barred her from teaching mandatory first-year law courses in 2018, she is scheduled to teach at least two courses during the spring 2022 semester and reportedly retains a vote for faculty hiring. OCA noted that neither the University of Pennsylvania nor Penn Law have indicated that Wax will face further, meaningful disciplinary action, raising questions about whether students are adequately protected. — With Jay Domingo/PDM

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